African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Countee Cullen, "To Endymion" (1927)

To Endymion

ENDYMION, your star is steadfast now,⁠
Beyond aspersion’s power to glitter down;
There is no redder blossom on the bough
Of song, no richer jewel in her crown;
Long shall she stammer forth a broken note,
(Striving with how improvident a tongue)
Before the ardor of another throat
Transcends the jubilate you have sung.

High as the star of that last poignant cry
Death could not stifle in the wasted frame,
You know at length the bright immortal lie
Time gives to those detractors of your name,
And see, from where you and Diana ride,
Your humble epitaph—how misapplied!

 Rome, August 1926, after a visit to the grave of Keats.

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